20 Of The Most Stunning Photos From The 2023 Ocean Photographer Of The Year Competition

Published 8 months ago

The beauty and majesty of the ocean have captivated photographers for generations. In 2023, the Ocean Photographer of the Year competition once again provided a platform for photographers from around the world to showcase their talent and share their awe-inspiring images of the deep blue.

This year’s competition was particularly special, as it highlighted the urgency of ocean conservation and the need to protect this invaluable ecosystem. From mesmerizing underwater scenes to breathtaking seascapes, here are some of the most stunning photos that graced the competition this year.

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#1 Jialing Cai, Overall Winner Ocean Photographer of the Year

Image source: oceanographic

A Paper Nautilus drifts on a piece of ocean debris at night, surrounded by heavy sediment. Photo: Philippines

#2 Andrei Savin, Runner Up Ocean Photographer of the Year

Image source: oceanographic

A crab sits in the center of a sea anemone as it sways in ocean current. Location: Philippines

#3 Alvaro Lopez, 3rd Place Ocean Photographer of the Year

Image source: oceanographic

A whale struggles on, its flukes severely damaged as a result of continued entanglement. Location: Mexico

#4 Jack Pokoj, Winner, Ocean Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Image source: oceanographic

A lizardfish’s open mouth reveals its last meal. Location: The Philippines

#5 Craig Parry, Runner Up Ocean Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Image source: oceanographic

A gentoo penguin, the fastest penguin species in the world, charges across the water. Location: Antarctica

#6 Jade Hoksbergen, Winner, Ocean Fine Art Photographer of the Year

Image source: oceanographic

A whale shark and its entourage of remoras is attracted by the bright lights of fishermen. Location: The Maldives

#7 Alex Postigo, Runner Up Ocean Fine Art Photographer of the Year

Image source: oceanographic

“Off Baja California Sur in Mexico, marlins annually congregate to feed on bait balls,” says Postigo. “After they diminish the fish present in quick and elaborate hunting rituals, only scales are left. Here, a blue marlin swims beneath the ocean’s surface, fish scales – resembling a starry sky – raining down around it.” Location: Baja California Sur, Mexico

#8 Todd Glaser, Winner, Ocean Adventure Photographer of the Year

Image source: oceanographic

Balaram Stack surfs at Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of O’ahu. “I took this image with a drone which was new to me,” says Glaser. “I have photographed the Pipeline from every angle but have never seen it from above. I managed to get the swell, weather, wind, tide, and talent all in one shot. The rainbow at the edge of the wave is what made this one so special to me.” Location: Hawaii, US

#9 Gergo Rugli, Runner Up, Ocean Adventure Photographer of the Year

Image source: oceanographic

A surfer braves a big swell, while the setting sun paints the sky red. Location: Sydney, Australia

#10 Sylvie Ayer, Winner, Ocean Conservation Photographer of the Year (Hope)

Image source: oceanographic

A manatee enjoys the crystal-clear waters of the Homosassa River. Location: Florida

#11 Jules Casey, Runner Up, Ocean Conservation Photographer of the Year (Hope)

Image source: oceanographic

Two pale octopuses sit on a pipe that forms part of an artificial reef built to attract octopuses and other marine life to the area.
Location: Australia

#12 Jingyi Wang, Winner, The Human Connection Award: People and Planet Ocean

Image source: oceanographic

Artisanal fishing fences stand proudly in the sea. Location: China

#13 Ioannis Pavlos Evangelidis, Runner Up, The Human Connection Award: People and Planet Ocean

Image source: oceanographic

“This aerial shot shows just a small part of Ganvié, a floating village in the north of Benin,” says Evangelidis. “It is said to have about 30,000 inhabitants. The houses are built on wooden stilts and any sign of land is brought in by the inhabitants. The fertile water allows for fishing and small-scale pisciculture which is the primary subsistence and economic activity for these people.”  Location: Benin

#14 Jarvis Smallman, Winner, Young Ocean Photographer of the Year

Image source: oceanographic

A bodyboarder paddles out to sea, while big storm clouds block the sun and create an electric blue color effect on the wave. Location: Western Australia

#15 Aaron Sanders, Runner Up, Young Ocean Photographer of the Year

Image source: oceanographic

“Like a bolt of lightning piercing black clouds, this small common squid exploded onto the scene before me,” says Sanders. “Jetting around, it refused to stay still, seemingly intent on exploring our torch light. After observing its movements for some time, I decided to try to capture its trail of motion using rear curtain sync. After a few attempts, I was having some success. Then, all of a sudden, as I pressed the shutter, the little squid shot off jetting a plume of ink into the black water.” Location: Falmouth, UK

#16 Sirachai Arunrugstichai, Winner, Ocean Portfolio Award

Image source: oceanographic

A young grey reef shark is hooked by an angler at night at Burma Bank, an offshore plateau in the Andaman Sea. Location: Myanmar

#17 Renee Capozzola, Runner Up, Ocean Portfolio Award

A young green sea turtle gets cleaned by black tangs in Maui, Hawaii where sea turtles thrive due to their strong protections

Image source: oceanographic

“A young green sea turtle comes in close for a portrait in Maui, Hawaii where sea turtles thrive thanks to their strong legal protections,” says Capozzola. “This image was taken at Mala Pier in Lahaina, which collapsed in 1992 during Hurricane Iniki and now serves as an underwater reef, encrusted with corals and providing a habitat for animals to rest, feed, and hide.  Numerous turtles also frequent the area to get cleaned.  This turtle is getting cleaned by two black tangs in the water column close to the surface.” Location: Hawaii

#18 Merche Llobera, Winner, Female Fifty Fathoms

Image source: oceanographic

“In the Pacific Ocean’s crystal clear waters, these four Chilean devil rays glided gracefully around me,” says Llobera. “With my camera ready and my body submerged, I waited for the opportune moment to freedive and capture the sublime beauty of their aquatic ballet.” Location: Costa Rica

#19 Florian Ledoux, Winner, Ocean Conservation Photographer of the Year (Impact)

Image source: oceanographic

A polar bear cub contends with the fragility of melting ice. Location: Svalbard, Norway

#20 Jeroen Hoekendijk, Runner Up, Ocean Conservation Photographer of the Year (Impact)

Image source: oceanographic

“Far from home, this female walrus hauled herself onto a concrete pier in the harbour of Harlingen in the Netherlands,” says Hoekendijk. “The animal appeared to be in good nutritional condition and was regularly seen feeding on razor clams. Framed by her unexpected surroundings, she takes on a noble, almost melancholic position. The scene reminds me of a museum diorama. Months later, she was spotted off Oslo. By this time, she was named Freya after the Norse goddess of beauty and love. Despite her immortal name, the Norwegian government made the widely-criticised decision to ‘euthanise’ her to ‘protect swimmers’. Freya was shot with a rifle.”  Location: Netherlands

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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